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who is so qualified to minister and assist as her, whom the Father of mercies gave him, to be “an help meet for him?” I mean, IV. The salvation of the immortal soul. This is indeed a personal concern; an interest which cannot be transferred or communicated. The good-will of another cannot impart it; the remissness of another cannot defeat it: to God, his great Master, here, every man standeth or falleth, for “every one must give account of himself to God.” But is it not obvious, that example, that reason, that co-operation, possess a mighty influence toward promoting or obstructing personal piety, growth in grace, meetness for the kingdom of heaven? Is the man impressed with the worth, with the danger of his own soul; does he feel “the powers of a world to come;” is his mind turned to devotion; is the love of God shed abroad in his heart? How will such impressions be fixed and strengthened, by endeavouring to communicate them to a beloved object, and by receiving back the impression, heightened and improved, from that object? How much more exalted and affecting, is a sense of divine goodness, when it is beheld embracing more than one! when it is seen conferring immortality, eternity, on virtuous human affections! what a live coal applied to devotion, when the solitary my Father and my God, is changed into the social our Father and our God! How is the hope of glory ennobled, extended, animated, by the prospect .#: “Here am I, Holy Father, with her whom thou gavest me, to be an help meet for me. We were one in interest and affection; one in the faith of the gospel, and the practice of piety; our prayers ascended in one stream of incense, and every gift of thy providence and grace was multiplied and sweetened to each by being bestowed on the other. Sweet were our labours of love to our joint offspring; sweet our united efforts to improve the bounty of our common parent; sweet the ‘V QLs III, 2 D
sympathies of kindred hearts, in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, in good and in bad report; but sweeter far the consolations of religion, the prospect of life and immortality brought to ; by the gospel.” We come together to “receive the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls; as, through grace, we have been made helpers of each other's faith, let us be, eternally, helpers of each other's joy.” Is the man, unhappily, dead to all sense of religion; swallowed up of time and sense; is his great, or only inquiry, “What shall I eat, what shall I drink, wherewithal shall I be clothed?” Or, more wretched still, is he delivered over “to commit iniquity with greediness,” “and to glory in his shame?” What are the most likely means of awakening him to reflection, of reaching his conscience, of melting his heart, of changing his conduct? Preaching is vain, he turns “a deaf ear to the voice of the charmer, charm he never so wisely;” prosperity fosters pride and forgetfulness of God; adversity only hardens him the more; reason is perverted, passion has acquired the ascendant, the power of habit predominates: but the Lord God has provided “an help meet for him.” When public instruction and foreign reproof have failed, the mind is still accessible. The unaffected, unostentatious charm of genuine female piety is felt and understood, and be: comes efficacious; the silent, unupbraiding regret of conjugal tenderness supplies the place of a thousand arguments, and forces its way to the heart; “the ef. fectual fervent prayer” of a gracious woman “availeth much;” the “believing wife” draws to the Redeemer, with the cords of love, “the unbelieving husband;” she becomes the blessed instrument of “converting the sinner from the error of his way, she saves a soul from death, she hides a multitude of sins,” and, in the noblest sense of the word, approves herself “an help meet” for yman. In all these important respects, the original design
of Eternal Wisdom, in the formation of woman, is plain and palpable. To have fulfilled one branch of duty, and even to have excelled in it, is no exemption from the obligation of the rest. The duties of life and of religion run in a series, one is linked with another, supports it, cannot be separated from it. To no purpose are children well educated, if through the indolence, folly, or vice of parents they are launched into the world in doubtful, dishonourable, embarrassed or distressful circumstances. What is it to me, that my fortune is prudently and frugally managed, if my person is neglected, my temper trifled with, my reputation sacrificed, “my good name filched from me?” And what is the acquisition of a world, at the expense of my soul?— Let it be understood and remembered, that every word which has been said of the obligation laid on woman, as “an help meet” for man, applies with at least equal propriety and force, to man, as the helper and friend of woman. Does he possess superiority of any kind? It is evidently intended not to oppress, but to support. His greater strength is given for her protection; his more vigorous or profound powers of thought are designed to be her instructor and guide. Whatever advantage, real or apparent, each may have above the other, Providence clearly wills to be employed for the comfort and benefit of the other. A contention of mutual affection, beneficence, forbearance, forgiveness, is the only strife which nature, reason and decency permit to this state and relation. We proceed to illustrate female utility and importance in social life, by certain noted examples from the sacred record. May God smile on every attempt to communicate useful truth. Amen. HISTORY OF DEBORAH.
And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she
judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm-tree of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim; and the children of Israel came
up to her for judgment —Judges iv. 4, 5.
THE unremitting attention paid by a wise and gracious Providence to the affairs of men, affords equal matter of wonder and gratitude, with the astonishing power and skill displayed in the first formation of this great universe. Let us suppose the care of that Providence for a little while suspended, and the world left to itself. Who is not shocked in looking forward to the probable, the certain consequences of that remission? Behold instantly the bars of the vast abyss burst asunder, and “hell itself breathing forth destruction to mankind.” Behold the prince of the power of the air reigning and raging without control. Behold chaos and ancient night resuming their murky empire, and darkness covering the face of the deep; earth and air confounded; nature convulsed by the fury of contending elements, unrestrained by law; universal confusion and wild uproar prevailing. Alas, it is not necessary to state the supposition so high. To conceive the wretchedness of mankind, deprived of the constant, superintending care of Heaven,
it is needless to let loose the demons of the bottomless pit; it is needless to unbridle the fury of the ocean, or to assist the roaring winds in blowing up the fire into a hotter flame. Under the slightest alteration of the established order of things, all nature languishes. Remove, for a moment, the all-ruling, all-supporting hand of the great Father of the universe, and lo, this fair and fertile region is overwhelmed with an inundation, and that, is burned to one pumice-stone, by the force of celestial or subterraneous fire. Here arises a race all males, like the fabled generation of warriors which sprung from the serpent’s teeth, armed at all points for mutual destruction and slaughter; and there, a nation of timid, defenceless females, inviting violence and insult. But under that uninterrupted divine superintendance all goes on well; there is no schism in the body; every thing is found in its place, every thing performs its function. The exactest proportion between male and female births is preserved; the robuster frame is still found united to the stronger mental faculties; the delicacy of the feminine form indicates, to the very eye, the softer, gentler qualities of the spirit which inhabits it; and nature assigns to each the limits of duty, and the sphere of usefulness and exertion. But the great God is pleased to make himself known, not only by general conformity to establish laws, but by occasional deviation from them. That the sons of men may know, it is according to his high will, that all creatures are, and think, and act. The history, which this evening comes under our review, exhibits a new thing in the annals of human nature; asserts the sovereignty of the Most High over all persons and events; places the female character and importance in a new, a striking, and a respectable point of view; and thereby admonishes the one sex to think of their own natural general superiority with deference, affection and honour to the manly excellencies of the female mind, when cultivated by a proper education,